Jason Ball's TechBytes

Technology & Venture Capital. Early stage venture capital news mixed with personal views and comments

Google Chrome Tips

Ok, this may not be the newest tip on the block, and I’m not sure how I ever overlooked it: Pinned Tabs.

I migrated to Chrome on the PC as soon as it was stable, and on the Mac as soon as it was available. Somehow I missed pinned tabs though…

You can pin tabs inside Chrome (just like in Firefox) by control clicking (or right clicking for PC users) on the tab.

I always have the same 4-5 tabs always open, always running. You see the first one is Gmail. I don’t use local email clients anymore (and haven’t for a while); same for my calendar. Pinning the tab saves space and clicks when you fire up Chrome (the pins reopen when you restart your browser…).

If you knew this, thanks for letting me know sooner. If you didn’t know this- enjoy!


Filed under: Other

Age of Abundance (The Dedicated Device Rule)

There’s a fresh article in this month’s UK Wired- “Watches are the ultimate proof that we are not rational“, which applies directly to me (and an increasing number of my VC friends.)

It reminded me of a discussion that happened during my MBA – we were asked to envision what “the watch of the future” would be- ideas of mini-computers embedded in watches, internet connected glasses, etc populated the conversation. I suggested that the watch of the future was no watch- time was all around us and on every phone (this was when my Ericsson T29 constantly showed the time, not my black as night iPhone), and for a long time I lived by my prediction- no watch. Just my phone. My personal philosophy for many years has been one of simplicity- having just *one* of anything…

But days have changed, and on the watch front, I now own more watches than ever before… my three favorites are my Suunto T3 heart rate monitor- my trusted companion as I pedal away on my bike for 100+ miles a week, my Casio CA53W-1 for splitting up the dinner tab, and my Explorer II because it needs to be worn to be wound-  I love the idea of a self sufficient, kinetic watch. The one thing the three watches have in common is that they all offer dual time; as an expat that’s one point that never crossed my mind during my MBA (even though I was sitting in Spain at the time)- how important knowing what time it was in more than one city at any given moment. Instantly. But they are all very different watches, designed for different purposes or occasions.

Yes, my iPhone shows me the time (and weather) across the globe, but having a dedicated item on my wrist has taken on more importance over the years- and I’ve had a proliferation of watches in the interim.

I think the same applies the digital devices world. (I’ve had device creep without even realizing it.)

My iPhone was the holy grail when I bought it (and gets more powerful with each generation and app release), and I thought it would be the only device I needed… but I carry an iPhone and a Blackberry daily, and if rumors are to be believed, will probably add an iTablet to the mix soon. In the computing world, I also own 3 computers (iMac, Macbook Pro, Lenovo PC) but will also be getting a cloudbook next month. I tend to travel with both my Macbook and my PC. A cloudbook may replace my Macbook, but that remains to be seen… (I imagine it will end up being for checking mail and social activities online from the couch more than as a road warrior…)

I was even handed a dedicated wikipedia device last week as well- which is designed to be used by school kids.

All of the devices mentioned above are designed to perform one core function, with overlapping functionality in other areas. For me, I believe the future of devices will be exactly the same. Simplicity and function will drive this proliferation of dedicated devices-  the kindle, the flip, etc indicate the future… all in one devices means lowest common denominator. Dedicated devices mean optimal design and performance….

Filed under: Other

Happy Holidays

It’s that time of year, and I’m heading off into turkey, present and (hopefully) gadget land for a few weeks.

No real posts (unless total boredom sets in) until 2009.

Happy Holidays everyone!

(Picture credit: gun show)

Filed under: Other

Critical Mass London- Get out your Bike [Updated]


After further thought, I won't be attending. Possibly the most dangerous vehicle on the roads is the Irresponsible Cyclist. 

While I agree that more cycle awareness and support for cyclists is needed, I don't think breaking the law, clogging traffic and generally causing mayhem is the best way to advance cycling in metropolitan areas. 

One of the key criticisms I always hear about cyclists in London is that they "always break the law"- which is something I make a point of not doing. Responsible cycling is really the best way forward… with awareness and respect from motor vehicles- I can't see that Critical Mass promotes that type of protest, so won't be joining. Ping me or leave a comment if you know of any "positive protests" in the City…


Conditions for cyclists in London can range from pretty poor to extremely dangerous… I literally have *very* close calls on a daily basis. Luckily I haven't eaten any pavement yet, but I'm sure it won't be long, despite being pretty defensive out there.

If you'd like to join an awareness event for cycling, the next Critical Mass London is next Friday at 6pm on the South Bank under Waterloo Bridge, by the National Film Theatre. 

What's Critical Mass? Here's a recent video from the WSJ on its origins:

Filed under: Other

The rain in Spain…

It’s that time of year again and I’m off for a few days of r&r in the sunny iberian peninsula. Blogging will resume the first week of September.


Filed under: Other

Up, Up and Up

It’s earnings season on Wall Street and the news is very good:

Amazon- Q1 profit up 29%
Apple- Q1 profit up 36%
Google- Q1 profit up 30%
Broadcom – Q1 profit up 22%

Most of the results are due to non-US strength, but they are very stong results across the board…

Filed under: Other

Should I stay, or should I go?

This is the eternal question every Londoner (or any urbanite) faces:

You’ve missed the bus- do you walk to the next stop to try to catch it, or do you stay put and wait for the next one to come along?

There is a precise mathematical equation that can be used anytime you’re faced with this dilemma:


The long and short of it is, if you walk to the next bus stop- chances are the bus will pass you by, and you’ll end up waiting even longer…so stay put.

You can read the full proof here, Walk versus Wait:
The Lazy Mathematician Wins
, if that’s your thing.

Filed under: Other

Quote of the Day- Gordon Brown

Responding to criticism that the UK property market is crashing, Gordon Brown stated:

"We’ve seen house prices rise by about 180% over the last 10 years and
they have risen by about 18% over the last three years, so a 2.5% fall
is something that is containable," Brown said.

A quick check shows that Bear Sterns was up 150% over the last 10 years as at Dec 2007 ($90/share)…

Then, the bottom fell out and the stock is trading down (87%) YTD ($10/share). What destroyed their share value? The credit crunch.

Guess what’s about to crack the UK housing market?

Filed under: Other

Blogging => Twittering

This cartoon from the Gaping Void pretty much sums up the evolution of my blog as well (minus the art, poetry and architecture):

Filed under: Other

Microsoft invests in Facebook at $15 billion

The Wall Street Journal has a good overview and recap of the negotiation process.

Facebook is reported to have circa $150 million in revenue currently (and are launching their own advertising platform shortly). As a point of reference, Facebook’s revenue is worth 7.1x more on a price/sales basis than Google.

Looking back at the last round of venture funding, Accel participated in the $25 million round at a whopping $500 million pre-money. This was before the site was adding 200,000 users per day. Not a bad paper return given the price they bought in at… Now, how long until Facebook a) implodes or b) goes public?

Filed under: Other, Venture Capital

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